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Wilfried Sätty
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Bremen, Germany
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
San Francisco
Known for his collages and posters, Wilfried Sätty made innovative prints with multiple runs on offset lithography presses using a variety of images and materials. Born in 1939 in Bremen, Germany, Wilfried Podriech adopted the name “Sätty” from a character in a play he had performed in while attending high school. He received a degree from the University of Berlin in industrial design, and worked as a technical draftsman for heating and ventilating systems. Sätty worked in Brazil and Canada before he came to San Francisco in 1961. He worked as a steward on passenger ships of the Matson Line and as a draftsman for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Around 1967 he began creating posters published by Joe McHugh’s Mill Valley company, East Totem West. He continued to create posters after East Totem West was closed in 1968. Working with rock poster artist David Singer (b. 1941), Sätty created three posters for Bill Graham (1931-1991) in 1970 and 1971. Sätty also made collages using a variety of materials, first photographic reproductions and then using 19th-century prints from illustrated books and magazines. He often turned his collages into offset lithograph prints. His prints and collages were shown in solo exhibitions in San Francisco galleries in 1968, 1970 and 1971. Living in an old building on Powell Street, Sätty was famous for the parties he threw in the basement of his building, accessible only by a ladder, attended by a mix of hippies and Pacific Heights gentry and duly recorded in the gossip columns. He published two collections of his works, “The Comic Bicycle” in 1971 and “Time Zone” in 1973. Later in that decide he illustrated Leonard Wolf’s (b. 1923)“The Annotated Dracula,” a study of Bram Stoker’s (1847-1912) novel, Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809-1849) stories in “The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe,” and an edition of Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s (1836-1870) “The Hasheesh Eater.” By 1977 Sätty began exploring San Francisco history. He eventually created over 300 collages depicting 19th-century San Francisco, using images from his vast collection of the 19th century books and periodicals He died before he could publish his work, after falling from a ladder in his home in 1982. He left his estate to his friend, Bay Area architect and art historian Walter Medeiros, who published the images in 2007 as “Visions of Frisco: an Imaginative Depiction of San Francisco during the Gold Rush & the Barbary Coast Era.” (TNB 7/2016)